Hanborough: Manors and other estates

Pages 164-165

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1990.

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Manors and other estates

In 1066 Hanborough was held by Tonni; it was his only Oxfordshire manor, but he had substantial estates in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, in all of which, as in Hanborough, he was succeeded by Gilbert of Ghent. (fn. 22) On Gilbert's death c. 1095, Hanborough seems to have passed, with his other estates, to his son Walter, but the manor was acquired by Henry I before c. 1130 when the king granted Hanborough church to Reading abbey, and probably before 1105 when three of the king's charters were dated there. (fn. 23) It was later claimed that Henry I had taken the manor from Walter of Ghent and given it to Walter's sister, his mistress. (fn. 24) Simon de St. Liz, earl of Northampton, probably Simon III (d. 1184) who in 1156 married Alice, daughter and heir of Gilbert of Ghent (d. 1156), seems to have claimed the manor; between 1165 and 1176 or possibly between 1156 and 1157 he confirmed Henry I's grant to Reading abbey. (fn. 25) The manor was in the king's hands in 1156 and 1194, (fn. 26) and remained part of the royal demesne until it was granted, with Woodstock manor, to John Churchill, duke of Marlborough, in 1705. (fn. 27) It was held by his successor in 1986.

In 1217 Henry III granted the manor to Thomas Basset the younger, during pleasure. (fn. 28) It was in the king's hands again in the 1240s, but in 1269 was granted to Eleanor, queen of Henry III, who held it in dower in 1279. (fn. 29) In 1299 Hanborough was assigned in dower to Margaret, queen of Edward I, who held it in 1316, and on her death it was assigned to Isabella, queen of Edward II. (fn. 30) On Isabella's death in 1330 Hanborough was committed to William de Montagu, later earl of Salisbury, keeper of Woodstock manor, but on his death in 1344 it was again separated from Woodstock, being granted for life to Robert de Ferrers. (fn. 31) From 1375 Hanborough formed part of Woodstock manor.

The manorial buildings, probably in Church Hanborough, included in the earlier 13th century a hall, at least one grange, and a stable. Although the buildings seem to have been repaired as late as 1471, there is no evidence that they were used as a royal residence after 1105. (fn. 32)

Half a knight's fee, held in 1236 by John of Hanborough, was held in 1279 by Adam of Downhall, (fn. 33) and remained in his family for over 200 years. Adam (d. 1309) was succeeded by his son Robert, who in 1311 conveyed at least part of the estate to John of Champagne and Nichole his wife for their lives. (fn. 34) In 1328 John and Nichole conveyed their interest to Peter of Dodecote, who, by 1329, had acquired the rest of the estate from Robert Downhall. (fn. 35) In 1346 Peter of Dodecote held the ½ fee of the king. (fn. 36) In 1347 Peter settled the estate on himself for life, with remainder to John, son and heir of Robert Downhall, who seems to have been in possession by 1354. (fn. 37) John Downhall still held the estate in 1364, but had been succeeded before 1382 by his son Ellis, who was still alive in 1416. (fn. 38) William Downhall of Geddington (Northants.) died in possession of the estate in 1505, (fn. 39) and in 1511 his son Thomas sold it to Humphrey Brown. Brown exchanged it in 1526 with Margaret Heron and her son Giles; in 1533 Giles sold it to Richard Andrews, who sold it the following year to John Claymond, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. (fn. 40)

Another freehold estate, built up in the early 15th century, also passed to Corpus Christi College. It included ½ yardland held in 1355 by William Kingman and his wife Gillian, and 1 yardland granted the same year to John Millward by Adam of the Wardrobe. (fn. 41) David Bradwell acquired the yardland in 1385 and the ½ yardland, then called Porter's place, before 1412 when he conveyed his estate (later reckoned to be 2 yardlands) to feoffees. (fn. 42) In 1416 it was conveyed to Walter Smith of Lyneham, who in 1424 granted it to John Launse and William Weller, who conveyed it in 1428 to William Riley. (fn. 43) In 1557 John Riley of Broad Campden (Glos.) sold the estate to Robert Morwent, president of Corpus Christi College. In 1563 and 1564 Morwent's executors and heirs quitclaimed it to the college, but the college does not seem finally to have obtained possession until 1599. (fn. 44) The college still had a large estate in the parish in 1986.

In 1231 Henry III granted William of St. Owen 1 ½ yardland and a croft called Chavereshull (later Chasehill) in Hanborough and land in Combe for a rent of 12s. (fn. 45) William was said to hold 4 yardlands for the same rent in 1236, but in 1279 the estate, held by his son, another William, was again 1 ½ yardland. (fn. 46) Richard of St. Owen had land in Hanborough in 1302, but before 1358 William Snarestone acquired the estate, probably 2 ½ yardlands and the croft, from Nicholas Poure of Bletchingdon. (fn. 47) Another William Snarestone held it in 1411, and in 1487 the land was settled on that William's kinswoman and heir Joan, wife of Thomas Harris. (fn. 48) It seems, however, to have passed to the descendants of Richard Snarestone (d. by 1474), his daughter Isabel, wife of John Romney, and her daughter Margaret, wife of Richard Smith, who was the richest man in the parish in 1524. (fn. 49)

The 2 ½ yardlands were later, probably in the early 17th century, held by Sir Thomas Tempest, and in 1641 were conveyed by William Kenyon to Thomas Laurence (d. 1657), master of Balliol College, Oxford. In 1682 the land was settled on Gilbert Laurence, who in 1688 sold it to Henry Curll of Andover (Hants). By a series of transactions between 1698 and 1700 it was conveyed to Simon Adams (d. 1701) of Oxford, from whom it passed to his widow Elizabeth and to his daughters Elizabeth and Sarah. On Sarah's marriage in 1734 to Digby Cotes, the whole estate was settled on her; she died in 1767, and in 1772 her executors sold it to Thomas Walker, agent for the duke of Marlborough. (fn. 50)

In the 1540s Chasehill Close was leased from Edward Smith, presumably Margaret's son, from whom it seems to have passed to William Fletcher, who held it at his death in 1557. (fn. 51) The residue of a 200-year lease and a reversionary 2,000-year lease of the close was bought in 1593 by Exeter College from John Willis of Oxford. (fn. 52) The college seems to have sold Chasehill in the mid 19th century.

Between 1136 and 1138 Adela, widow of Henry I, granted to Oseney abbey 1 hide at Hanborough belonging to Stanton Harcourt, which manor she then held. (fn. 53) Henry III's attempt in 1248 to recover the land was unsuccessful, and the abbey retained it until the Dissolution when it passed to the first Oxford cathedral. It was surrendered with the rest of the cathedral's endowments in 1545 and sold the same year to Leonard Chamberlain, who sold it in 1546 to William Fletcher. (fn. 54) William Fletcher (d. 1557) was succeeded by his son Henry (d. 1601) and by Henry's son William, (fn. 55) who seems to have sold the estate. In 1624-5 it was conveyed by Edward Fenner to Richard Harris and his son Henry. (fn. 56) In 1663 the estate was held by Francis Harris, son and heir of Henry Harris of Great Missenden (Bucks.). Francis died soon after 1691, and a dispute over the settlement of his estates led to a protracted suit in Chancery. In 1731 the Hanborough estate was sold by order of the court, and bought by the duke of Marlborough's trustees. (fn. 57)

A half yardland which was alleged to have been held by Durham College, Oxford, was granted to Durham cathedral in 1541 and surrendered in 1545. It was leased by the Crown to Leonard Perrott c. 1550 and sold in 1553 to John Wright and Thomas Holmes, two London speculators. (fn. 58) The sale seems not to have taken effect, the ½ yardland having apparently been successfully claimed to have been the personal property of Edward Henmarshe, warden of Durham College from 1519 until the Dissolution, who at his death in 1542 left to it to William Todd, prebendary of Durham. (fn. 59) Thereafter the ½ yardland, held by John Terry in 1606, was not distinguished from other customary land in the parish. (fn. 60)

In the late 14th century some Eynsham abbey tenants held lands in Hanborough comprising paddocks, crofts, tofts, and small parcels in the Breach, probably the result of assarting from Eynsham along the parish boundary; the abbey held no estate in Hanborough. (fn. 61)


  • 22. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 419-20; V.C.H. Northants. i. 346; Lines. Domesday (L.R.S. xix), pp. 107-12.
  • 23. Reg. Regum Anglo-Norm. ii, pp. 43-5, 282; Sanders, Eng. Baronies, 47.
  • 24. Bk. of Fees, ii. 1158.
  • 25. Reading Cart. i, p. 376.
  • 26. Pipe R. 1156-8 (Rec. Com.), 37; 1194 (P.R.S. N.S. v), 16.
  • 27. Marshall, Woodstock Manor, 249.
  • 28. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 103.
  • 29. Cal. Pat. 1266-72, 311, 433-4; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 871.
  • 30. Cal. Pat. 1292-1301, 453; 1317-21, 401; Feud. Aids, iv. 164.
  • 31. Cal. Fine R. 1327-37, 215; 1337-47, 391.
  • 32. P.R.O., SC 6/962/4; Close R. 1256-9, 79; Cal. Pat. 1467-77, 241.
  • 33. Bk. of Fees, i. 587; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 871.
  • 34. Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 50; P.R.O., C 143/87, no. 10.
  • 35. C.C.C. Mun., Twyne transcript, iii, p. 25; Cal. Pat. 1327-30, 472.
  • 36. Feud. Aids, iv. 177.
  • 37. C.C.C. Mun., Twyne transcript, iii, pp. 53, 65, 81.
  • 38. Cal. Pat. 1361-4, 516-17; C.C.C. Mun., Twyne transcript, iii, pp. 137, 139.
  • 39. P.R.O., PROB 11/14, f. 284.
  • 40. C.C.C. Mun., Twyne transcript, iii, pp. 197, 199, 201-3, 209, 217, 219-21, 229-39.
  • 41. Ibid. f. 83; Cal. Pat. 1354-8, 191; P.R.O., C 143/313, no. 5.
  • 42. Cal. Pat. 1385-9, 56; C.C.C. Mun., Twyne transcript, iii, p. 123.
  • 43. C.C.C. Mun., Twyne transcript, iii, pp. 139-43, 155-7, 159-185.
  • 44. Ibid. pp. 251-69, 279-95, 335-63.
  • 45. Cal. Chart R. 1226-57, 137.
  • 46. Bk. of Fees, i. 589; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 871.
  • 47. C.C.C. Mun., Tywne transcript, iii, p. 5; Cal. Pat. 1358-61, 101.
  • 48. Snappe's Formulary (O.H.S. lxxx), 230-1.
  • 49. P.R.O., E 179/161/198; ibid. REQ 2/12/183.
  • 50. Blenheim Mun., box 80.
  • 51. P.R.O., C 3/194/86; ibid. REQ 2/84/31.
  • 52. Exeter Coll. Mun., C. IV. 21, f. 54; M. II. 6.
  • 53. Oseney Cart. iv, p. 107.
  • 54. Ibid. pp. 109-10; P.R.O., E 318/7/256; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xx (2), p. 219; xxi (1), p. 150.
  • 55. P.R.O., C 142/112, no. 136; C 142/291, no. 115.
  • 56. Bodl. MS. Dep. d. 71, f. 267.
  • 57. Blenheim Mun., boxes 77, 84.
  • 58. P.R.O., E 318/39/2105; E 32½0/13; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 422; xx (1), p. 179; Cal. Pat. 1553, 245.
  • 59. P.R.O., E 32½0/13; E 321/33/17; O.R.O., Rob. III/i/1; Emden, O.U. Reg. 1501-40, 281.
  • 60. P.R.O., LR 2/224, f. 127; Blenheim Mun., B/M/208, ff. 9v., 101v., 375.
  • 61. B.L. Harl. Rolls E. 32, F. 19; below, Econ.